When you get married, you vow to share and become an equal partner in each other’s happiness and sorrows. However, the differences begin to crop up as soon as you start settling into your married life. While you accept some of these and design your work around them, there are a few that take time. Money matters are one such example.
The problem arises when you and your spouse’s ways of managing money are strikingly different. For instance, one may believe in budgeting while the other may want to live it up. Since you have been doing it for years, you get accustomed to your ways and your spouse’s ideas may seem intrusive. Before you know it, these differences may escalate into squabbles and debates. The best way is to nip it into the bud.
Here are some ways to resolve your differences and agree on a money strategy for your household.
Talk, talk and talk
You may have heard a hundred times that communication can resolve all differences of opinions. Well, there really is no greater truth than this. Share with your spouse how you feel about money and your reasons behind it. Perhaps, you had a modest upbringing and those fears of living in inadequacy are deeply rooted. As important as it is to share, you must also lend a patient ear. It is only when you discuss that you will understand and empathize with your spouse.
Figure your money goals
The best way forward is to discuss and arrive at a mutually agreed set of financial goals. Do you want to invest in a property in the next few years? Do you or your spouse intend to become a stay-at-home parent after having babies? Discuss all possibilities so that you have a realistic plan.
Decide your money management system
Both of you can pool your salaries into one bank account. You can use this joint account to pay for your monthly bills and also manage your goals like savings and investments. If this doesn’t work out for you, opt for separate bank accounts. You can have a joint account in which you can add your portion every month for the household expenses. Every couple is different and no one strategy can suit everyone’s needs. Do what you think will work best for you.
Know each other’s weaknesses
It is natural to have certain money weaknesses. For instance, one of you may tend to overthink before spending on something more than a hundred dollars. In other cases, one of you could instantly surrender to your urges of shopping and end up splurging. It is important to share and know each other’s weaknesses. The key is to have regular discussions and help the other person overcome the problem areas.
Take monthly allowances
It is not going to work if both of you are going to keep a strict eye on the expenses. Take a monthly allowance to enjoy your financial freedom. Use this money to spend on yourself and your interests. Discuss and agree to not question where this money goes.
Plan for your retirement
I understand if you are not in the frame of mind to think of what will happen after decades. However, retirement is inevitable and it is best to start at the earliest. Take full advantage of your 401(k) at your workplace. If one of you is a stay at home parent, ensure that your retirement plan is also in place. This will ensure a happy retirement life where you won’t have to depend on your children for financial assistance.
Create an emergency fund
Make it your priority to set aside a small sum every month for your emergency fund. Life is unpredictable and can throw curveballs at you. The best you can do is to be prepared financially. Trust me, half of your problems will be gone if you have financial protection to fight the situation.
Don’t fight over money
Make it a house rule to not fight over money. If there is an issue, make it a point to discuss and resolve it amicably. Listening, being patient and compassionate can go a long way in such situations.